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Dublin: 6°C Friday 14 May 2021

Shinji Kagawa's struggles continue as he misses decisive penalty in big Asian Cup upset

Japan, the reigning holders, suffered shoot-out defeat to United Arab Emirates.

Image: Joe Giddens/EMPICS Sport

IT’S BEEN A difficult few seasons for Shinji Kagawa. Ever since he swapped Borussia Dortmund for Manchester United in 2012, he’s struggled for form.

Not even a return to the Bundesliga club last year has managed to reignite the superb form he showed in his initial two seasons with the side.

Last month, his boss Jurgen Klopp had the following to say about him.

He came from a, let’s say, a not so fantastic situation from Manchester United, he started well when he got back to Dortmund, but now he isn’t playing that great anymore. So it’s possible that you disappear for a while. A lot of players return to form a little bit quicker.”

But, his form shows no sign of improving.

Earlier today, he played a decisive role in Japan being eliminated from the Asian Cup by United Arab Emirates.

The reigning champions went behind after 7 minutes but forced extra-time with an 81st-minute equaliser.

But, no side could make the breakthrough and the game went to penalties.

Another Japanese superstar, Keisuke Honda (embracing his inner Chris Waddle), set the tone with an appalling first effort but Japan still stayed in the shoot-out until sudden death.

But, Kagawa was unable to convert, his strike coming back off the upright. Moments later,  Ismail Ahmed kept his nerve to send UAE through to the final four, where they’ll face the hosts Australia in Newcastle.

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About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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